The “E” stands for Executive (Not hard to see why)
Another “E” word that comes to mind, Exquisite!
The Mercedes E class has long been and still is the middle child, sitting snugly between the smaller sibling, the C class, and the elder sibling, the S class. In most families the middle child tends to fade into the obscurity quite easily but not the E class. Instead it has held its own as a mid sized luxury sedan carrying a large chunk of Mercedes’ weight on its shoulder thus becoming the unofficial halo car for the brand in the process.
Lets take a look back to see where it all began.
Initially the “E” in Mercedes’ model range stood for Einspritzmotor which is german for fuel injection engine which was a big deal back in the 1960’s as most models in the Mercedes stable and even on the public roads had carborated engines. It was only after 1993 that the “E” morphed into a new model line as fuel injection became more of a common site.
The first official E Class appeared in the facelifted W124 and it was also at this time that Mercedes models switched to a new naming system for example E 320 instead of 300 E. 1996 saw the second generation E class which in the looks department, to put it lightly, a lot of people saw it as more of an acquired taste. (I like it though)
When the 3rd generation came along it was a breath of fresh air. As many deemed its looks as fashionable and with more than a decade later, its styling has also withstood the test of time which is more true in reference to the face lifted versions which came with updated front and rear lights, improved interior amenities and revised engineering. The fourth generation debuted in 2009 with sharper lines and a more premium looking architecture which some would say, would even rival its elder brother, the S class. The fifth and current generation launched in 2017 which gets me excited because my favourite car at the moment sits within this generation and that is the current E63 S Wagon. Leave it to Mercedes to once again embarrass supercars and keep its arch rival, BMW on its toes.
So lets bring it home and talk about the most common generation of the E class in Zimbabwe and that is the third generation.
In my eyes this model has aged very well. It still looks fairly modern even by today’s standards and will definitely allow you to shine and bring a little swagger to your step as you walk away or towards it. Synonymous with family men hauling kids and “blessers” (sugar daddies) hauling people’s daughters it does it all in great comfort thanks to well cushioned and massaging seats as well as floaty air suspension in some examples. It never really feels underpowered even if one is equipped with the four cylinder engine.
So you want one? Here’s a few things to consider...
Firstly, just like with any car purchase, adequate research is needed. Upon researching for this article I learnt that the pre facelift models, that is from 2003 to 2006 are the ones to avoid as they were plagued with technical issues.
Sidenote: If you want to know the model year of your vehicle, its the10th character on your VIN Number if it was made in or after 1981.
So ideally you want to look at 2007 to 2009 variants where all the previous issues were resolved, making it a more reliable purchase. Furthermore, try and avoid air suspension as this is a nightmare for any old Mercedes owner without deep pockets.
As you might have guessed, there is a common theme with owning an E Class. Its all about “Can you handle the costs?” Be prepared to be charged a premium for spare parts and repair costs because of brand association and because parts are relatively more expensive compared to Japanese ones. However, given the fact that there are more on the road these days, prices may start to fall. Given that its an old German car as well, reliability is only dependant on how well you take care of it. Its not as resilient as Japanese brands like Honda or Toyota and thus cannot take the same levels of abuse.
However they are more resilient than I would have guessed as I have seen a fair share of banged up E classes still running even though they look like they are screaming HELP ME, HELP ME!! I almost shed a tear or two everytime I witness such horrors because I absolutely adore the E class no matter which generation it is. Mercedes seems to adore it too as it is more or less its ‘cash cow’ which is partially due to fleet purchases as taxis and some police vehicles in Germany are actually E classes. Then you also have world dignitaries and heads of state picking the E class as the vehicle of choice to move about.
As a result It has and still is its best selling model worldwide and its not hard to see why. Its the very definition of ‘Mercedes’ in my book befitting of the ‘Executive’ nameplate and the 3 pointed star.